A squirrel tinkers with a juice box.

Wildlife feeding is the new ‘littering’

BC SPCA says habituated animals are put at risk when people feed them.

British Columbia is home to a vast array of wildlife, and it is often tempting for humans to feed the adorable ducks, cute raccoons or the darling deer. Unfortunately, wildlife often pays for humans’ bad habits. Whether that’s intentionally feeding the geese or gulls, putting out garbage in non-wildlife-proof bins, or littering, such routines contribute too often to habituated animals being unnecessarily injured or killed.

“The intentional feeding of wildlife is 100 per cent preventable,” said BC SPCA chief scientific officer Dr. Sara Dubois

“Habituated wildlife are more susceptible to predators and vehicle collisions, and no matter how often the public is asked to please, not feed the wildlife, there are always those who can’t resist, or are unaware of the dangers. Ticketing is rare even if bylaws are in place, as it’s hard to catch people in the act. We need to make it socially unacceptable – just like littering.”

Feeding bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves is illegal under the Wildlife Act, she notes, but even so, such animals are often killed by conservation officers if they become too used to humans and human food, and increase the risk of human-wildlife interaction and potential conflict.

“Feeding wildlife is not only a bad idea for the animal, but for you, your pets, your neighbor and your community,” Dubois said.

One of the rules of disqualification for the BC SPCA’s annual Wildlife-In-Focus photography contest – still open at for entries to amateur B.C. photographers (email contest@wildarc.com) until Sept. 30 – is wildlife feeding, she says.

Any disqualified photos submitted are later used for “what not to do” examples in the BC SPCA’s educational materials and programs.

“Just because you love animals or even if they’re ‘begging’ for it, it’s best for everyone if you don’t feed wild animals,” Dubois says.

Just Posted

Teenage girl, 17, accused of stabbing girl, 16, in Surrey

Victim’s injuries not life-threatening

Fledgling Surrey City Orchestra tunes up for showcase concert Friday

Conductor Stuart Martin’s four-year goal is to build a core group of about 60 Surrey-based musicians

Fraser Health to buy two private MRI clinics in Surrey, Abbotsford

New clinics will provide 2,000 more MRIs by fiscal year-end

Safe Surrey Coalition opposes removing any property from ALR

McCallum and Pettigrew take issue with a Port Kells proposal to exclude property from the Agricultural Land Reserve

Retired football kicker wanted play hockey as a kid, but ‘it just wasn’t in the budget’

Surrey-raised Paul McCallum now backs KidSport and its annual fundraiser set for Friday

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

Fraser Valley horse trainer suing feed mill after death of five animals

Alicia Harper seeking $500,000 to $1 million in losses and damages from Hi-Pro Feeds

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

It’s shaping up to be quite a finish in CFL’s West Division standings

The Calgary Stampeders (10-2) are first, four points ahead of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-5).

Twice-convicted killer set to inherit multimillion-dollar company found guilty of father’s murder

A Toronto judge ruled that Dellen Millard is guilty of first-degree murder in death of his father,

Campaign seeks to add Farsi to B.C. school curriculum options

Group wants Farsi added to list of nine languages in policy covering second language requirements

Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

Peace summit in New York marks 100th birthday of former South African president

Most Read